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A friendship book rescued from a second-hand bookshop

A small ‘autograph book’ or ‘friendship album’ kept by a young German girl came into our possession in 2015: it had been rescued from obscurity from a second-hand bookshop in Bondi in the mid-1980s. How it came to be there one can only speculate.

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Preserving a lost religious world

These silver Judaica items tell a story of a lost religious world. They survived the Holocaust and post-war communism, and were smuggled out from Hungary to Australia, one by one, in the 1980s.

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4 lessons you can learn today from Holocaust survivors

If you are in need of inspiration today, here are words from four Holocaust survivors on resilience, perspective, happiness and humour.

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Survivor Portraits – Maurice Linker

Maurice Linker was born in 1930 in Czernowitz, Romania. Maurice and his family survived the Holocaust with the help of the Mayor of Czernowitz.

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Survivor Portraits – Beate Stricker

Beate Stricker was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1930. Beate’s father sourced the necessary papers for the family to leave immediately after Kristallnacht. Their destination was Australia.

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Kapos: collaborators, perpetrators or victims?

Kapos: collaborators, perpetrators or victims? By Emeritus Professor Konrad Kwiet, Resident Historian Jewish Kapos played a pivotal role in the history of the Holocaust. Imprisoned in concentration camps, Kapos were …

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Survivor Portraits – Anne Heilig

Anne Heilig was born in Berlin, Germany in 1935. Hitler had already come to power and the persecution of the Jews in Germany had begun. Anne and her parents were lucky enough to receive a visa to Australia.

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Brothers in arms

Brothers in arms Two orphaned brothers, separated after the deaths of both their parents, were reunited after more than a decade in the trenches of the Gallipoli battlefield. The story …

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Honouring the dead

Honouring the dead Author: Emeritus Professor Konrad Kwiet, Resident Historian Jews follow religious laws and traditional rites of burying and honouring the dead. The deceased are thoroughly washed as an …

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Survivor Portraits – Vera Kertesz

Holocaust survivor Vera Kertesz was born in 1933 in Czechoslovakia. She was an only child and believed if her parents had had more children, the family would not have survived.

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A firefighter’s charms

A firefighter’s charms These small metal charms in the Sydney Jewish Museum’s collection were made in the Theresienstadt Ghetto. They belonged to Pavel Thorsch, a member of the Feuerwache (FW); …

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Passover and modern day slavery

Passover and modern day slavery Every Pesach or Passover, Jews throughout the world are commanded to tell the story of their emancipation from slavery in ancient Egypt. However, while retelling …

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Juden Raus! Out with the Jews! – The Anschluss of Austria

Juden Raus! Out with the Jews! – The Anschluss of Austria By Emeritus Professor Konrad Kwiet, Resident Historian On 12 March 1938, Hitler’s army marched into Austria. The subsequent Anschluss …

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The Women on Exhibition

The Women on Exhibition On International Women’s Day, we take a walk through our exhibitions to highlight the strong women whose stories are central to the history we teach and …

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Reminders of humanity: Jacqueline Dale’s birthday cards

Reminders of humanity: Jacqueline Dale’s birthday cards Bordered by blue tape and creased by decades of history, the birthday cards given to Jacqueline Dale (nee Feldman) on the occasion of …

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Survivor Portraits – Leon Milch

Holocaust survivor Leon Milch was born in 1932 in Podhajce, Poland, a vibrant town of 6000 people, of which half were Jewish. He and his brother lost both of their parents in the Holocaust.

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The hidden ink sketches of Chaim Uryson

The hidden ink sketches on Chaim Uryson A collection of eight ink sketches recently piqued our curators’ attention once more. These sketches in our collection were done by Polish Jewish …

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Survivor Portraits – Peter Reismann

Holocaust survivor Peter Reismann was born in 1939 in Budapest, Hungary. At 4 years old, he remembers hurrying into a dark and small bunker.

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The perpetual markings of Auschwitz

The perpetual markings of Auschwitz By Emeritus Professor Konrad Kwiet, Resident Historian Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day and marks 76 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. Only in Auschwitz …

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Survivor Portraits – Yvonne Engelman

Holocaust survivor Yvonne Engelman was born in 1927 in Dovhe, Czechoslovakia. After promising her father she’d survive, Yvonne survived Auschwitz.

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International Migrants Day: Waves of Jewish migration to Australia

International Migrants Day: Waves of Jewish migration to Australia The waves of Jewish migration to Australia before and after World War II have been turning points in the history of …

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Survivor Portraits – Lina Lipton

Holocaut survivor Lina Lipton was born in 1923 in Lvov, Poland. The start of the war in 1939 came as a shock, and she survived in hiding under a false name.

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Remembering Kristallnacht in Australia

Remembering Kristallnacht in Australia On this day 82 years ago, the Nazis unleashed Kristallnacht – or the Night of Broken Glass – a bloody pogrom in Germany, Austria and Sudetenland. …

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Survivor Portraits – Lotte Weiss

Holocaust survivor Lotte Weiss was born in 1923 in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. Lotte attributes her survival to a series of miracles. Her parents and five siblings all perished in Auschwitz.

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Tehrani tradition in Sydney

Tehrani tradition in Sydney The Cadry family story is one of the many personal migration stories told in our feature exhibition, Jews from Islamic Lands. Jacques Cadry, the son and …

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Oma’s Coffee Mug

A recent addition to our collection, this Villeroy & Boch mug that bears Nazi imagery on its base has an interesting history.

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Nuremberg: From the Imperial Castle to Race Laws

The history of the Nuremberg Race Laws By Emeritus Professor Konrad Kwiet, Resident Historian at Sydney Jewish Museum Throughout history, Nuremberg has attracted much attention. Built in medieval times, the …

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Survivor Portraits – Gerty Jellinek

Holocaust survivor Gerty Jellinek was born in 1925 in Vienna, Austria. She was 13 at the time of Kristallnacht. Soon afterwards, she fled to Shanghai with her family, where she survived the war.

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Remembering the massacre at Babyn Yar

The murder of more than 33,000 Jews in Babyn Yar marked one of the largest single ‘open-air shootings’ in the history of the Holocaust, only to be surpassed by the massacre of 50,000 Jews at Odessa and the two-day killing of almost 43,000 Jews in the Lublin district. Today we commemorate the 79th anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre.

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Yom Kippur from Home

Yom Kippur from Home Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is often spent in synagogue. Of course, this year for most will be different. While we know we can still …

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An Egyptian Rosh Hashana Seder

An Egyptian Rosh Hashana Seder The festival of Rosh Hashana is both a joyous celebration and the start of a period of ten days during which Jewish people engage in …

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“Love each other. Be tolerant. Help each other.”

“Love each other. Be tolerant. Help each other.” “What legacy can I leave my children, grandchildren and great-grands? Much love. Yes… Love each other. Be tolerant. Help each other.” – …

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Survivor Portraits – Oscar (David) Benedikt

Holocaust survivor Oscar (David) Benedikt was born in 1920 in Brno, Czechoslovakia. He described himself as a “spoiled only child” to convey the tragedy of what lay ahead.

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100 years of learning

100 years of learning It was spring, the scent of flowering linden trees wafted in the air, the bank of a river, my nanny and my stroller. These were my …

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Survivor Portraits – Sam Young (Szmul Jungzweig)

Sam Young was born in 1925 in Lodz, Poland. However, Sam lost track of his age between 1941 and 1945, due to the disruption the war had on his life.

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Synagogues and memory

Synagogues and memory When synagogues were forced to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Jewish communities felt distressed; not necessarily at the knowledge that they couldn’t attend, but …

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Survivor Portraits – Margot Tischmann

Margot was born 1933 in Duisburg, Germany, “when things were already bad,” she recalls. It was the year Hitler came to power.

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Black lives didn’t matter: The Afro-German experience

Black lives didn’t matter: The Afro-German experience By Emeritus Professor Konrad Kwiet Afro-Germans – Germans of African descent – are among the forgotten victims of German racism and Nazi terror. …

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Telling the Holocaust through poems

Telling the Holocaust through poems There are hundreds of testimonies in the Sydney Jewish Museum’s collection from survivors who have shared their stories of suffering and survival. It is always …

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Refugee Week: An interview with Holocaust survivor Peter Halas

Refugee Week: An interview with Holocaust survivor Peter Halas On Refugee Week we share an interview with Holocaust survivor and founder of Seafolly, Peter Halas. Peter shares what made him …

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